Consumer Reports checks out Apple Maps, and isn't happy

The consumer ratings organization concludes that the Apple Maps navigation app for iPhone "disappoints."

Apple may think a lot of its new Maps app in iOS 6, but for Consumer Reports, the software remains a work in progress.

"Maps feels like a fresh, new product that has much maturing to do before it can rival paid ($20-$40) apps from leading navigation companies, such as Garmin, Navigon, and TomTom," the organization noted in a post published on its Web site.

Maps has a simple interface that will likely appeal to Apple users, especially those in a car, ready to travel. However, we consider it to be short on options, including many that are key elements in our testing. For instance, Maps does not have route preference settings, choices for avoidance preferences, exit guides, and lane assistance. Apple touted that Maps would include a reality view, for realistically rendered guidance at major intersections, but we did not experience it in our journey across numerous major roads and highways. Also, the information provided to the driver is sparse.

Consumer Reports also found the the traffic information in the new app "harder to read than with most other solutions, with the colors being muted and the lines faint." These difficulties, it found, are magnified on the smaller iPhone 4/4 S screen.

After Apple users began upgrading to iOS 6 last week, users discovered geographic errors in the mapping app such as misidentified cities, incorrect icons and certain locations not showing up. Apple introduced the app as a result of its decision over the summer to split with Google Maps.

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